There are some truths in life that are worth knowing deeply.
One of these truths is the value of rest.
I am sharing my thoughts about this because weariness and burnout are mightily formidable. They wreak havoc upon your body and your spirit steadily, and over a long time (or even a lifetime), they can erode all of the parts of your life that were intended to give you joy and fulfillment.
First, let’s clarify what I mean by “rest”.
I am not talking only about sleeping at night. I am referring to an intention to shut out all of the pressure, noise, expectations, and anxieties you face every day.
I am talking about the kind of rest that is restorative and relaxing. A state of being in which your mind, heart, and body are quietly at ease.
I will be the first to say that entering into this state is not easy, particularly if your are not used to doing it.
We can say we are taking the day off, but are we really?
In my experience, I can be sitting on a chair and look like I am doing nothing. What is actually happening is that my mind is moving at the speed of light thinking about all of my responsibilities and disappointments.
For others, taking a day off might mean spending hours on a cell phone pouring over Instagram or Facebook.
Both of these instances certainly address some aspects of rest, but they also fall too short of what it means to rest deeply.
Deep rest means actively decluttering your mind and body of the pressures of life. There’s a reason why vacations are so fun and restorative. They physically take you away from what you have to face head on every day. They take you away from your burdens, at least temporarily. As such, they feel liberating.
If I could take a vacation every week, I totally would, but since I am not independently wealthy and care about my personal responsibilities, it is not possible.
Or is it?
To me, true deep rest has to feel like a vacation. There has to be some level of joy, and you have to create a sense of separateness from your every day life. It also has to be ridiculously easy so that it does not become its own chore or burden.
This is what deep rest looks like for me . . .
Sleeping in and staying in bed at least one day a week. I can read a book and fall back to sleep any time. I’ll have snacks by my bedside. Cuddle with my cat Steinway. I might watch a movie on my laptop or just stare out of my window. In my head during these moments, I am just enjoying myself and intentionally not thinking about anything stressful.
A quiet, warm bath also works well.
A massage from someone you trust works wonders.
Rest means physically allowing your body and mind to quietly settle into itself. For this to actually work, you have to give yourself permission to let go of life’s physical and emotional demands just for a little while.
Think of it as your own mini and super easy vacation. Find what works for you.
Do it every week.
Do it often.
Know that you deserve it.
As for all of those exponential gifts that this lesson will give. I’ll leave those for you to discover. Just trust that the rest of your hours and the busy-ness of your life will be better for it.